Here we go! It’s time for me to run down Santa’s Naughty List! In something that’s become an annual tradition, I share the list of people who have done some dumb this year and now find themselves facing a Christmas morning full of coal.
10. Impossible Burger’s CEO
I’m open to plant-based meats and other alternative products. Why? Because I think we’re going to need every option to feed an exploding global population. But I’m not okay with a company that wants to end animals farmers entirely. And that’s exactly what Impossible Burger’s CEO Pat Brown says he wants: to end family farms. So Santa’s serving up a big bag of coal for Pat this year.
9. Cory Booker
Perverse. That was the term Cory Booker used to describe U.S. agriculture during a townhall-style debate about climate change. Booker is one of many 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls. He’s also a vegan. And while that alone didn’t disqualify him as a presidential contender, I wanted to know why. Unfortunately, we found out at that climate-change debate. And it wasn’t pretty. I don’t mind people making different food choices than me, but having such a dim view of U.S. agriculture just isn’t acceptable.
8. President Trump and China
I completely understand the reasons we needed to challenge China’s trade abuses (which alone were enough to put China on this list). But the trade war between the United States and China is now entering the third year and it isn’t clear whether we’re any closer to a new trade deal. Unfortunately, farmers are still feeling the brunt of it. I wasn’t a fan of how President Trump went about this challenge. If he winds up with a great deal, I’ll change my mind. For now though, these two squabbling world actors are getting coal.
6. Organic Valley
Many organic companies use half-truths, misinformation, and outright lies to sell their brand. Organic Valley is a big culprit. Food Science Babe called out the company for some of its more outrageous marketing claims. And when you look at the crap being put out by this company, it’s infuriating. So Organic Valley lands squarely on Santa’s Naughty List this year.
5. Only Organic
Continuing with our organic-marketing theme, enter Only Organic. Only Organic is a weird “non-profit” organization funded by organic food companies. It’s goal? Scare people about conventional food. Seems super sketchy; right? This year OO introduced its new campaign claiming that conventional farmers are allowed to use “over 700 chemicals” on crops! To make their point, OO lists each one on its website….because we’re all supposed to be afraid of names we can’t pronounce…or something. But Santa hates when we scare people away from safe food. So OO is getting coal.
Stonyfield is a regular favorite on this annual list. This year it was really more of the same offensive lies. They’re also participating in Only Organic’s chemicals list (see no. 5). I’m repeatedly amazed by the lows Stonyfield is willing to hit. There’s no integrity left and yet there’s no shame either. Literally, Santa–and I–can’t even.
A-B certainly started 2019 with a bang. The company’s Bud Light commercials featured during the Super Bowl with a clear message: corn syrup is bad. Angry farmers took to social media to blast the company for the offensive spread. But every time A-B tried to make up for it, the company failed miserably. It was honestly such a stupid mistake, I never really understood why they even did it.
2. Mother Nature
Mother Nature was 2019’s biggest agricultural story. Heavy rains and flooding plagued the Midwest in the spring. Planting was significantly delayed and many acres didn’t get planted at all. The summer saw drought in the same regions. Other parts of the country experienced extreme weather as well, such as the wildfires in California. And heavy rain and snow wrecked havoc on fall harvest, making many fields too wet and sloppy to pick. I’m not sure Mother Nature really cares about Santa, but he’s definitely getting her coal this year.
1 Environmental Working Group
The problem with EWG is that they’re so good at being bad. The radical group manages to capture headlines throughout the year with blatantly false and misleading announcements–the dirty dozen, antibiotics in meat, and fears over pesticides. Yet the media laps it up like a starving animal (maybe the media deserves to be on the list too…). I suppose we can’t blame EWG for doing the activist-organization thing well. But we can blame them for creating a false narrative about our food supply.
And there you have it! Who did I miss? Who doesn’t deserve to be on here?